Politics

Boehner Joins Influential K Street Firm

Ex-speaker to rake in big bucks as global adviser

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner is leveraging his government experience in the influence industry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former House Speaker John A. Boehner is cashing in on K Street almost one year after resigning from Capitol Hill.

The Ohio Republican will join Squire Patton Boggs, a global law firm that traces its roots to one of Washington's oldest and most prominent lobbying practices. The shop is also the professional home of several former Boehner congressional aides and to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Democratic ex-Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana.

Though Boehner’s one-year lobbying ban expires on Oct. 31, the firm stressed that the one-time speaker will not meet the threshold to register as a lobbyist. Instead, he will serve as a strategic adviser and will focus on global business development in the United States and abroad.

“I left the private sector and got into public service decades ago because I wanted to help remove government barriers to economic growth and job creation, and that’s still the mission that drives me,” Boehner said in a statement. “My role with Squire Patton Boggs will give me the opportunity to engage with leaders in business and government throughout the world and help them work through the challenges they face, as part of a world-class team.”

[Boehner Joins Tobacco Company Board]

Boehner’s longtime aides John Criscuolo and Amy Lozupone, who has been staffing the former speaker's taxpayer-funded office in the Longworth House Office Building, are also joining Squire Patton Boggs. The law firm already employs Boehner congressional staff alums Dave Schnittger and Natasha Hammond, making it the unofficial lobbying outfit of Boehnerland.

“With Speaker Boehner joining our team, we're better positioned than ever to grow our brand throughout the world and to fully capitalize on our integrated global platform,” Mark Ruehlmann, chairman and CEO of the firm, said in a statement. 

Boehner’s decision not to immediately lobby is a common one among prominent ex-leaders who depart for the private sector, among them former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Bob Dole of Kansas. They still wielded influence and advised clients, even if they weren't technically lobbyists. 

Both Daschle and Dole are now officially registered lobbyists.

Squire Patton Boggs did not disclose the terms of the deal, but headhunters and K Street veterans say former speakers don’t come cheap. His annual compensation package is likely well over $1 million, they say. 

Boehner's new K Street gig comes less than a week after tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. announced that the former lawmaker was joining its board of directors.  The company's brands include Camel, Boehner’s preferred cigarettes.

[Boehner's Office Has Spent $100K Since Retirement]

Though Boehner said when he resigned from the House that he wanted to hit the links after his sometimes-tense tenure as speaker, the Ohioan offered a major clue that he had more on the horizon than golf. He hired Robert Barnett, an attorney with Williams & Connolly who helps top-level government officials arrange lucrative book deals and private-sector gigs, to advise him. 

Boehner, a prolific fundraiser while in Congress, has continued to build up his political coffers to help Republicans retain their House majority in November. 

Squire Patton Boggs represents Amazon.com, candy maker Mars Inc., Ohio University and SpaceX, among other clients, according to recent lobbying disclosures. The firm was formed after a 2014 merger of Squire Sanders, an Ohio law firm, and D.C.'s Patton Boggs. Just months after the merger was announced, the firm's iconic name partner and top lobbyist Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. died unexpectedly at age 73.

[Taxpayers Foot Bill for Boehner's Post-Speaker Office]

Squire Patton Boggs was the third-biggest K Street practice last year as measured by income reported under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, with $25 million in federal lobbying revenue, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. It was a decline from 2014 when the shop reported more than $31 million in annual lobbying revenue.

Those figures, though, do not include the full scope of the firm's policy portfolio, including international and state activities as well as some federal regulatory and messaging work including the type of strategic policy advice Boehner says he will give clients.

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